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Sparano thoughts as rookie minicamp closes

The Dolphins ended their rookie minicamp on Sunday. These were coach Tony Sparano's thoughts -- at least the ones he shared with the media:

(On his thoughts about signing any of the rookies) – “I’m not sure right now. We’re going to visit on them a little bit later. We had a good group of guys, we really did. We have some guys that I think were very interesting during the course of the weekend and had some really good qualities.”

(On what he got out of the three days) – “I learned how people learn a little bit better. Some of these players, you’ve only heard, and have a lot of information from their school. It’s kind of second-hand information but you’re hearing it from them. You maybe have only seen them for 15 minutes at the combine and have the chance to visit with them that way. So, to get them in your building and to be able to see the way they learn. Everybody learns differently, you and me, everybody learns a little bit differently. I think that helps us tremendously in our approach down the road with them because they really are behind. Right now, our guys finished up Week 6, and they’re 24 or 25 workouts behind right now. So, they have a lot of catching up to do and they’re going to have about 24 hours from the time they land until we’re out on the field, so, it’s going to be a fast track for them. So I think that has been important. I think you also learn a little bit more about how they move and what some of their strengths are that way. I think those would be the two greatest areas.”

(On the official ruling on when the rookies can return) – “They can’t come back officially until May 16. So they’re done right now. So, the time they leave here May 16 is the first day the league allows them back into the facilities, so a couple of weeks.”

(On if he has frustration with the time he’s allotted with the rookies) – “You want the time, but you get it at the other end a little bit. When the veteran players are done, the young guys are able to be here a couple of weeks more so we kind of catch it at the other end. That’s not bad right now because I think what you want to do is have some time when they’re by themselves. From the time they get back here until the end they’ll kind of be mixed in with the veteran players. So, we’ll try to keep them separate a little bit in some of their lifting groups and that type of thing but at the end of the day they’ll be together.”

(On Koa Misi’s personality) – “He’s a pretty mellow guy right now. I haven’t seen him kind of just before the game or any of those types of things so I would imagine just watching the he plays and the way he practices that he can’t possibly be that way before a game. He is pretty calm and he’s a level-headed kid. The one thing that I thought with this group of linebackers that we brought in here—and one of my things with them in mornings is to throw questions at them in front of the group and have them answer these questions and see how some of these kids respond to football questions at them. That group of linebackers is a very smart group of people. So, the stuff that they’ve thrown back at me in the last couple of days has been really interesting. So, Koa being one of those guys—and he’s a pretty calm guy but very smart and has a different switch on game day. ”

(On Koa Misi never really watching football in past, only being a spectator) – “No, I think that’s pretty rare. I think that usually the people that you get have watched it and have grown up watching and all of that good stuff. But, with Koa it’s been a little bit different I guess. Whatever he’s done he’s done it right. It is a million miles an hour out here all the time and I’ like the way he plays. So, when I watch him out there from that standpoint you don’t have to worry about that practice happens or whether or not he’s going to be ready to go when he crosses the line.”

(On Reshad Jones practice speed) – “I felt him in the last couple of days. He’s been around the football a bunch and made a couple of plays yesterday in the bubble. I think that he’s got the hardest job out there obviously because he’s got to get things lined up. I think from his standpoint it’s trying to figure things out defensively. We really didn’t throw as much at him defensively in this camp as we did maybe thrown at the offensive but we did throw a pretty good dose at him. It won’t be like when we get down the road here and he’ll be getting it fast, but, we threw a pretty good dose at him. He digested it pretty well; I thought he moved around great.”

(On the group of players that he can tell more about in comparison to each other) – “The skill players definitely. The linebackers a little bit. I think one of the things with the linebackers that obviously you want to wait and see is the contact part of things and how they handle some of these blocks when it’s full live. I think the skill people, the defensive backs, receivers and those type of people you can see a little bit more out of—just in the way they run, they catch, their routes and any of those things. But, interior-wise and any of those things I think you kind of have to wait a little bit.”

(On how long he thinks it should take for the rookies’ adjustment process) – “I couldn’t tell you. I would hope that—it looks like right now that it’s been very good. We did our homework with how these kids learn. We do feel like they’re all very intelligent learners and quick learners that pick information up easily out there so I think that’s a big part of the curve. Now, when we get them back here, we’ve got to smother them with the fundamental part of things. Watching them out here right now, they get to the right people and get there relatively easy in certain situations but not using the proper fundamentals. Yesterday, a wheel route happened out here and we turned the wrong way to cover the wheel route. Well, until you start seeing those things as a linebacker and not as a guy with your hand in the dirt “I just need to get out there” kind of guy, I think that takes a little bit more time. But once they start to understand those fundamentals I think that they’re going to be fine.”

(On his timetable of players’ adaptation ability) – “It depends on who you’re looking at. I watched DeMarcus Ware do it pretty fast and I watched a guy like Greg Ellis do it pretty fast. I think that’s a rookie player and a veteran player at the same time—same year and kind of does the same thing. I think it really depends from a mental standpoint on how fast they could pick it up. From a fundamental standpoint, how natural they are at playing on their feet. I think that with a couple of these players that we have that are transition guys right now, they’re pretty natural at playing on their feet from what I’ve seen.”

(On if the rookie mini-camp was what he expected or was he surprised) – “No, not many surprises, I wouldn’t say. When you’re drafting them and you’re watching them on tape and you’re taking them off the little card off the draft board and putting them under your logo and any of those kind of things, you’re wishing and you’re hoping—and we’ve got a lot more time yet before we figure much of this out. I kind of like the way the group looks, I really do. I like the way they look mentally and physically. I kind of liked some of the things I’ve seen out here. It didn’t look too big for a lot of them when they were running around out here. Now the next step is to put them in that same fish bowl with the veteran players and see how they swim.”

(On what he wants the players to take home from this experience) – Well, there’s a bunch of things. I just got done talking to them a little while ago and I just told them you’ve really gotten a lot of information. They’ve gotten information from a social standpoint, football standpoint, and a nutritional standpoint. So, there’s been a bunch of information given to them and I just told them that right now they’ve got to start thinking more like Miami Dolphins and less like wherever they were at college or where they’re from or any of those types of things. We’ve given them some of the tools right now to go home in the next two weeks to succeed and to have success over the next couple of weeks before they come back. Whether or not they use them, we’ll see in a couple of weeks. I think from a mental standpoint, there’s a ton of things they take out of this with all the information football-wise—how they eat, how they drink over the next couple of weeks. There’s no more need to run a 40-yard dash right now or to work on the vertical jump. We need to worry about football things. So, that’s the kind of information that we’ve given them right now and I would hope that they’re getting back there and getting under the squat rack and starting to power clean and do the things that we do."

(On if he sends the rookies home with…film?) – No, you know me better than that. (laughing) I don’t care who it is, I’m not letting the film out of the building. (laughing) Right now, what they’ve done, they’ve taken all of their notes via the last three days. We clean up their notebooks and any of those types of things. That’s the information that they have with them. We give them a few handouts on some of the different lifts and we’ve given them an instructional session during the course of this training camp. We’ve brought them in the weight room, sat them down and have them with a couple of our players that were in the camp that have been doing some of the lifting—a couple of those guys go in there and demonstrate some of the different types of lifts the way we do them from a fundamental standpoint. So, they’ve gotten an awful lot of information to be able to take with them."

(On if he thinks the group of linebackers were the most impressive group) – “Well, there are four of them that we drafted. I think that’s kind of why I made that statement. But, I wouldn’t say that. I think that there are a couple of different positions. I was impressed with our receiver position. I think a lot of people did a lot of good things out here. But of course the receiver position, when you add a couple of the players that we had out here—getting the chance to look at Ryan (Grice-Mullen) and getting the chance to see (Julius) Pruitt a little bit and not running cards and doing practice squad things. Those were a couple of good groups. I think it made for a crisper practice.”

(On the long snapper Andy Huffman) – “Wought him in and he was a long snapper and we got a look at him. We weren’t really going to do any more team things at the end of that so everything was going to be individual.”

(On Nate Ness transitioning to corner from safety) – “Yeah I think that he has been getting better at it, I really do. He has done a better job from a fundamental standpoint, this kid really took very little time off at the end of the season, he is kind of a football grinder, he likes to get in here and lift and run and do these things. He is in great shape and really I thought, and did a good job. From a fundamental standpoint I like some of the things that he did out here. He likes to compete, so we will see.”

(On if the move is a full time move) – “To corner? He played (corner) most of the time last season, so yeah.”

(On what phase of the off season program the veterans players are in) – “When they come back, the veterans have this week off, this is the middle of the program. We finished week six, we have six weeks to go and those six weeks will have all our football stuff in it with the mini camps and OTA’s and their last six weeks of lifting.”

(On if Ronnie Brown is ready jump right in and do everything in the off season program) – “We will see. He’s doing pretty well.”

(On John Jerry playing at the right guard position today was to look at others at left guard) – “No I took him yesterday in the bubble and he went over there on the right side, so we split (the practices) two and two. I just kind of wanted to see, again, the differences. You see it on (his college) tape of course because you see him at right (tackle), but I just wanted to see him on the right side a little bit more than on the left side.”

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